When searching for a new necklace or a piece to hang in the living room, a state park might not be the first place you'd think to shop. Yet the Black Hawk State Historical Site will soon be teeming with artwork, as the Left Bank Art League presents its 49th annual Fine Art Fair from 10 a.

Jon Stuckenschneider's silver gelatin prints are tranquil, almost hypnotic to gaze upon. They show the blur between fantasy and reality. In his print entitled Cedar River the trees are indistinct and hazy, while the sky and water have a grainy texture.

Most of us have had the experience of running into someone who went to school with us years earlier. Very little, if anything, usually comes of those chance encounters. But for local artists Nicole Miller and Justin Elvidge, both 22, a surprise meeting has led, a mere four months later, to a shared exhibit of oil paintings at the Peanut Gallery in Rock Island, the first local showing for both Quad Citians.

On a Saturday morning, if I were suddenly inspired to seek out work by local artists, I could go to a gym and catch a really good show while working out on the treadmill. Then I could treat myself to breakfast at my favorite café and see another wonderful exhibit while drinking my coffee.

Artist Peter Xiao grew up in Beijing, China, which he describes in his artist statement as "congested" and filled with "political upheavals." For this reason he is more interested in painting "humans and their conditions" rather than the classic Chinese subject, nature.

• Reggae legends are visiting the Quad Cities. Bob Marley's backing band, The Wailers, will be performing on Friday, April 15, at Quad City Live. Since Marley's death in 1981, the band has been touring regularly and issuing sporadic recordings.

Cedar Rapids resident Priscilla Steele had entered a pair of drawings into the 29th Annual Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition competition. She felt that the two figures related well to one another and that, together, they strongly represented her artistic talent.

In designing our third photo contest, we decided to suggest - but not require - a spring theme. While it wasn't a criterion in our judging, several of the winners did indeed follow our advice - most clearly seen in Linda Ortiz's second-place-winning photograph in the "people" category, showing a young girl in field rich with green and accented by violet and a small dab of yellow.

Pat Edwards is a small, soft-spoken woman, and her oil paintings are also small and soft-spoken. However, there is a quiet power in her person and in her work. The Catich Gallery at St. Ambrose University is currently featuring Here and There, an exhibit of her paintings that will be on display through April 22.

When it was unveiled last September, the Quad Cities Arts, Heritage, & Cultural Tourism Plan was a mass of good ideas and tough questions. While many issues remain, a pair of meetings held Monday represented tentative progress in one major area: where the money might come from.

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